Producer-researcher interactions in on-farm research

A case study on developing a certified organic research site

Douglas L. Karlen, Cynthia A. Cambardella, Carolee Theresa Bull, Craig A. Chase, Lance R. Gibson, Kathleen Delate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increasing consumer demand for organic products has created a need for certified organic research sites. Our objective is to discuss the lessons learned from evaluating alternate cropping systems to establish a certified site in western Iowa. Oat (Avena sativa L.), 'Kelson' snail medic [Medicago scutelata (L.) Mill.] or 'Polygraze' burr medic (Medicago polymorpha L.), triticale (XTriticosecale spp.), sweet corn (Zea mays L.), soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], rye (Secale cereale L.), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) or red clover (Trifolium pretense L.) were evaluated in five crop sequences as transition strategies for converting no-till corn and soybean land for certified organic production. Five models for managing organic research sites were developed and are discussed to help researchers and producers become aware of the different roles, goals, and management challenges faced when developing a certified organic research site. A "shared management model" (Type 3) best described our project involving a transitioning grower and researchers. Maintaining annual profit throughout the transition period was our most important factor, so potential returns to land, labor, and management were calculated to compare the various transition strategies. Only two of the cropping systems incurred a positive return to management. They used either a high-value crop such as sweet corn (provided it was marketable) or low-cost crops (i.e., oat and alfalfa). We conclude that learning from our experiences will enable others to develop certified organic research sites and become involved with on-farm research studies with much less stress than that encountered by our farmer cooperator, technical staff, land owner, and research team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-790
Number of pages12
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume99
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

Fingerprint

on-farm research
researchers
case studies
sweetcorn
Trifolium pratense
cropping systems
oats
alfalfa
Medicago scutellata
Medicago polymorpha
soybeans
Triticosecale
Medicago
consumer demand
cropping sequence
Secale cereale
triticale
Avena sativa
crops
organic production

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

Karlen, Douglas L. ; Cambardella, Cynthia A. ; Bull, Carolee Theresa ; Chase, Craig A. ; Gibson, Lance R. ; Delate, Kathleen. / Producer-researcher interactions in on-farm research : A case study on developing a certified organic research site. In: Agronomy Journal. 2007 ; Vol. 99, No. 3. pp. 779-790.
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Producer-researcher interactions in on-farm research : A case study on developing a certified organic research site. / Karlen, Douglas L.; Cambardella, Cynthia A.; Bull, Carolee Theresa; Chase, Craig A.; Gibson, Lance R.; Delate, Kathleen.

In: Agronomy Journal, Vol. 99, No. 3, 01.05.2007, p. 779-790.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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